State Watch

Ocasio-Cortez urges New York governor to back tax on billionaires

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) is leading a campaign urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to implement a tax on the state's billionaires.

A video released Thursday featuring progressives like Ocasio-Cortez and state Sen. Jessica Ramos (D), who sponsored a bill in 2018 that would tax the unrealized capital gains of the state's 119 billionaires, argues for a new tax on the high-income residents.

"There's no reason why working families in New York state, one of the richest states in this country, should be in so much need of basic necessities, when we have the largest concentration of billionaires in the entire world," Ramos says in the video.

"Governor Cuomo, we need you to pass a billionaires' tax, in order to make sure that we're providing for our working families," Ocasio-Cortez says. "It's time to stop protecting billionaires, and it's time to start working for working families."

Ocasio-Cortez has said Ramos's bill would provide "much deserved economic relief" to New Yorkers, particularly undocumented workers who do not receive federal relief and "who have been at the forefront of the crisis as essential workers," The New York Times reported Thursday.

The campaign comes as states face significant budget holes as the coronavirus pandemic has led to massive economic declines.

In June, 103 Democratic legislators in New York, including the majority of the state Senate, signed a letter calling for increased taxes for billionaires and for the funds to be redirected to workers not eligible for unemployment insurance or the federal stimulus.

Cuomo has previously supported a tax on second homes, though the real estate industry worked to kill the legislation, the Times reported.

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